Letter from Lafcadio Hearn to Horace Elisha Scudder
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- Scudder, Horace Elisha, 1838-1902, Hearn, Lafcadio, 1850-1904, Correspondence, Abernethy Manuscripts Collection
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- 2016-02-10 16:57:30
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Dear Mr. Scudder: - In reply to your inquiry about the A's series, I can only say that it is a thing that grows of itself, and sug- gests so many other growths that I have some difficulty in keeping myself rigidly to the line, and avoiding tempta- tions to leave it. I can only tell you how I now feel about it, not how I know that it will be. It will be entirely psychological, and will deal, I fancy, only with a number of common sensations and emotions from the standpoint of evolutional inheritance as a basic idea. You have now, I think, papers on the childish fear of darkness, upon First Impressions (better called Superimposition), upon the sensation of blue, upon one sort of musical emotion, upon a palm-tree, etc. You will receive by this, or next mail, a paper on the thrill caused by human touch. Well, here is just a suggestion - sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, should furnish each a subject. "Parfum de Jennesse" might be the title of a future paper. "Red", the subject of another. The whole to be called,["] Thoughts about feelings", etc. My dream is of a small, very artistic book, - large type, and heavy paper, - not a very thick book; for I fancy, that like the subject of the supernatural, this topic will not bear more than a limited amount of stretching. When I shall be able to finish, I cannot tell. Perhaps in time for next Fall - at very earliest. I can only write these things at intervals - when they make me write them: to force is out of the question, and to repeat the feeling that comes just as it comes, is often a work of months - trifling as the result appears. Ever very truly yours Lafcadio Hearn Tokyo, Dec. 28th '96 Thanks for kindly answer, about punctuation P.S. By the way, I should perhaps have said that the desire will be, to some extent, a reflection of the Karma - doctrine in the thoughts and the language of Western Science, - so far as I am competent to attempt it. Before I went to Japan the conviction of the fact of ancestral memory was strong in me - I had got it from the reading of Spencer. But I must confess that Buddhism and Shintoism suggested subsequently a new form of symbolism in which to put my thoughts, - or at least a more exact one, as you would perhaps notice by glancing at page 423 of my "Two Years in the French West Indies" - if you should ever care to look at the book. Faithfully ever Lafcadio Hearn
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